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Wrongful Death Due to Truck Accidents: Liability and Claims

Collisions with commercial trucks can be fatal to motorists and passengers in private vehicles. Sedans and SUVs are often no match against the heft and speed of delivery and cargo trucks, especially 16- and 18-wheelers. As such, the risk of fatalities is high in car crashes involving trucks.

When you or someone you know becomes involved in a fatal truck crash, you should know your rights. Learn the damages you can claim and the possible defendant in your lawsuit, so you can quickly move forward to building your case with your truck accident attorney.

Passenger Vehicles Have the Highest Fatalities in Large Truck Accidents

A recent report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) states that passenger vehicle drivers and passengers had the highest number of deaths in large truck accidents from 1975 to 2018.

Between 2000 and 2018, 66% to 75% of the total annual recorded deaths were occupants of passenger vehicles; 14% to 17% were truck driver occupants, and 9% to 16% were motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

The report also states that in 2018, passenger vehicle occupants constituted 96% of the deaths in two-vehicle crashes involving large trucks and passenger vehicles.

The data proves the immense vulnerability of passenger vehicles in truck collisions. It is one reason truck drivers and employers are held to a high standard of driving ethics and best practices. Truckers are subject to strict government regulations on blood alcohol levels, and employers must comply with the OSHA’s requirements and specifications for vehicle maintenance. If they neglect their responsibilities, they are liable for the oversight that results in a road accident.

Wrongful Death Claims: How Much Can You Claim and Who is Liable?

If you are a surviving family member of a wrongful death victim in a truck crash, you may file a claim against the truck driver or the trucking company.

California’s pure comparative negligence law states that someone involved in a car accident can claim compensation up to the extent of their fault in the incident. For instance, if the jury rules that the truck driver is entirely at fault in a wrongful death accident, you can claim 100% of the compensation awarded by the court. If the jury awards the victim $500,000 in compensation but finds the truck driver only 80% at fault, you will receive only 80% of the amount, or $400,000.

What are the damages you can file? California allows the spouse or domestic partner, children, grandchildren, and other qualified dependents to claim compensation for the following:

  • Burial and funeral costs
  • Medical costs
  • Loss of financial support (if the deceased provided for them )
  • Compensation for grief, pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of parental guidance, and others

There’s also the matter of who will pay the compensation. If the truck driver is an independent contractor, your claims will be filed against his insurance. But if the driver is employed and the company was found to have contributed to the accident due to oversight, the claims will be filed against the company’s insurance.

The pure comparative negligence rule also allows you to file claims on other motorists who are also at fault in the accident.

Our Experienced Truck Accident and Wrongful Death Attorneys at Haffner Law

Filing claims for wrongful death in a truck accident takes a lot of work. You’ll benefit from a truck accident lawyer with plenty of experience in wrongful death claims.

Our attorneys at Haffner Law have decades of experience in handling both wrongful death and truck accident claims. We can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Talk to our lawyers in Los Angeles today. Call 1-844-HAFFNER or 213-514-5681 to schedule a consultation.

(This is an attorney advertisement by Joshua Haffner)


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